Thursday, August 21, 2008

Geek-Speak for Marketers, Marketing Speak for IT

An interesting session at Search Engine Strategies in San Jose this week was recapped on Search Engine Roundtable: How to Speak Geek: Working Collaboratively With Your IT Department to Get Stuff Done.

When I started as Webmaster for my company, my boss and I set down our "prime directive" that we don't "own" our web sites. Some may view this as an attempt to dodge responsibility for the content and look of our sites, but we look at it as empowering those who can best determine how the sites are used and what is communicated through them.

For example: Our corporate Intranet is used to communicate information to employees. The content, therefore, is logically best determined by the departments needing to communicate with employees. Our public web sites are used to communicate with customers. It seems best to let the Marketing Departments create their messages and how to present them. In this way, us IT folks can focus on what we do best: keeping the lines of communication open and making sure everything runs smoothly.

Because we work closely with our our departments, all participants are able to lend their strengths to the process of getting a site completed and launched. None of us in IT are very artistic, so we leave the creative part to those who are better at it (or we outsource it). The marketing folks don't always stay on top of search optimization or new technologies, so they leave that to us to provide advice and assistance. In the end, we get an excellent result which is much better than if only one group or the other had done the work.

I remember a couple years back in another session at SES San Jose where Danny Sullivan did one of his "on the spot" surveys and asked how many marketing folks had to fight with their IT to get optimization and search marketing incorporated into their web sites. I was quite amazed to see most hands go up. I would hope things have changed since then. I firmly believe the best work comes when marketing and IT come together as a team and work the process.

To all you IT folks, geeks, nerds, and what-have-you: It's not bad idea for you to learn some "Marketing Speak." The more you learn about the other's job, the better you can assist in putting together an excellent web site.

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